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Assessment Tools
Assessment Tools
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Assessment Tools

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Assessment tools measure outcomes linked to the effectiveness of community school programs, services, and structure. This content area includes assessment tools used to measure outcomes, and explores …

Assessment tools measure outcomes linked to the effectiveness of community school programs, services, and structure. This content area includes assessment tools used to measure outcomes, and explores the purpose of each tool and how they can be applied to the community school strategy.

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  • 1. A RESOURCE GUIDE FORUNDERSTANDING COMMUNITY SCHOOLSUsing Assessment Tools at Community Schools October 2012 Prepared by: Iris Hemmerich Urban Strategies Council
  • 2. Using Assessment Tools at Community SchoolsTable of ContentsA Resource Guide for Understanding Community Schools .......................................................................... 2 Updating the Resource Guide ................................................................................................................... 4 Additional Community School Resources ................................................................................................. 4Our Community School work with Oakland Unified School District ............................................................. 5Community School Assessment Tools: Literature Review ............................................................................ 6 Introduction .............................................................................................................................................. 6 Review ....................................................................................................................................................... 6 1. What the Tool Measures and How it is Used ................................................................................ 6 2. Logic Model ................................................................................................................................... 7 3. Short vs. Long-Term Assessment................................................................................................... 7 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................. 7 1. Promising Practices ....................................................................................................................... 7 2. Concluding Remarks ...................................................................................................................... 8Community School Assessment Tools: Annotated Bibliography .................................................................. 9 1 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  • 3. A Resource Guide for Understanding Community SchoolsINTRODUCTIONUrban Strategies Council has collected and reviewed more than 175 evaluations, case studies,briefs and reports for use by those considering or planning a community school or communityschool district. Our intention is to provide interested individuals and stakeholders theresources they need to better understand the unique structure and core components ofcommunity schools. The promising practices, recommendations, tools and information sharedin this document have been culled from documents representing the last 20 years of researchand documentation of community schools across the United States.We highlighted 11 content areas that we believe to be the most foundational for understandingcommunity schools. Within each of the content areas, you will find: 1. A literature review: The literature reviews for each content area are organized around core questions and provide a synthesis of the most commonly identified solutions and responses to each question, as well as highlights, promising practices, challenges and recommendations. 2. An annotated bibliography: We gathered and annotated literature in each of the content areas to underscore key themes, some of which include: best practices, exemplary sites, models and tools. The annotations vary by content area in order to draw attention to the most pertinent information. For example, the Evaluations content area includes annotations of the evaluation methodology and indicators of success.The 11 content areas include the following: 1. Community School Characteristics Provides a general overview of the structure, function, core elements, programs and services of a community school. 2. Planning and Design Explores the general planning and design structures for community schools, and discusses the initial steps and central components of the planning and design process, as well as strategies for scaling up community schools. 3. Equity Frameworks and Tools Examines literature and tools that can be adapted to an equity framework for community schools. We included equity frameworks and tools that explore disproportionality and the monitoring of disparities and demographic shifts. 2 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  • 4. 4. Collaborative Leadership Addresses how to build, strengthen and expand the collaborative leadership structure at community schools. Collaborative leadership is a unique governance structure that brings together community partners and stakeholders to coordinate a range of services and opportunities for youth, families and the community.5. Family and Community Engagement Explores how community and family engagement operates as well as the challenges for actualizing it at the site level. Family and community engagement is a unique component of community schools in which the school, families, and community actively work together to create networks of shared responsibility for student success.6. Data Collection and Analysis Addresses the outcomes measured at community schools, methods for collecting data at community schools, and short and long term indicators.7. Assessment Tools Includes tools used to measure outcomes at community schools.8. Community School Evaluations Provides evaluations of community school initiatives with special attention paid to methodology, indicators of success, findings and challenges.9. Community School Funding Explores how to leverage revenue streams and allocate resources at community schools.10. Budget Tools Includes tools that support the process of budgeting and fiscal mapping.11. Community School Sustainability Explores promising practices for creating sustainability plans, partnership development and leveraging resources for the future. 3 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  • 5. UPDATING THE RESOURCE GUIDEUrban Strategies Council will continue its efforts to update the Resource Guide with the mostcurrent information as it becomes available. If you know of topics or resources that are notcurrently included in this guide, please contact Alison Feldman, Education Excellence Program,at alisonf@urbanstrategies.org. We welcome your ideas and feedback for A Resource Guide forUnderstanding Community Schools.ADDITIONAL COMMUNITY SCHOOL RESOURCESNational:The Coalition for Community Schoolshttp://www.communityschools.org/The National Center for Community Schools (Children’s Aid Society)http://nationalcenterforcommunityschools.childrensaidsociety.org/Yale University Center in Child Development and Social Policyhttp://www.yale.edu/21c/training.htmlRegional:The Center for Community School Partnerships, UC Davishttp://education.ucdavis.edu/community-school-partnershipsCenter for Strategic Community Innovationhttp://cscinnovation.org/community-schools-project/about-cscis-community-schools-project/community-school-initiative-services-coaching-and-ta/’ 4 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  • 6. Our Community School work with Oakland Unified School DistrictUrban Strategies Council has a long history of working with the Oakland Unified School District(OUSD) to support planning for improved academic achievement. Most recently, we helpeddevelop and support the implementation of OUSD’s five-year strategic plan, CommunitySchools, Thriving Students. Adopted by the Board of Education in June 2011, the plan calls forbuilding community schools across the district that ensure high-quality instruction; developsocial, emotional and physical health; and create equitable opportunities for learning. UrbanStrategies Council has worked with the school district, community members and otherstakeholders to support this system reform in several ways: Community Schools Strategic Planning: Urban Strategies Council facilitated six School Board retreats over a 14-month period to help develop the strategic plan. As part of that process, the District created 14 task forces to produce recommendations for the plan, with Urban Strategies Council facilitating one task force and sitting on several others. Full Service Community Schools Task Force: Urban Strategies Council convened and co- facilitated the Full Service Community Schools and District Task Force, which created a structural framework and tools for planning and implementation, and produced a report with a set of recommendations that formed the foundation of the strategic plan. Community Engagement in Planning: Urban Strategies Council partnered with the district to educate and engage more than 900 school and community stakeholders on how community schools could best serve them. Planning for Community Schools Leadership Council: Urban Strategies Council has been working with OUSD’s Department of Family, School and Community Partnerships to lay the groundwork for building an interagency, cross-sector partnership body that will provide high-level system oversight and support, and ensure shared responsibility and coordination of resources towards the vision of healthy, thriving children supported through community schools. Convening Workgroups: Urban Strategies Council continues to partner with the District to convene and facilitate several workgroups developing specific structures, processes, and practices supporting community school implementation, as well as informing the eventual work of the Community Schools Leadership Council. African American Male Achievement Initiative: Urban Strategies Council is a partner in OUSD’s African American Male Achievement Initiative (AAMAI), a collaboration supporting efforts to close the achievement gap and improve other key outcomes for African American males in OUSD. Urban Strategies Council has developed data-based research; explored promising practices, programs and policies inside and outside the school district; analyzed the impact of existing system-wide policies; and developed policy recommendations to improve outcomes in various areas identified by the AAMAI Task Force. Boys and Men of Color: Urban Strategies Council is the Regional Convener for the Oakland Boys and Men of Color site, which adopted community schools as a vehicle to improve health, education and employment outcomes for boys and men of color. 5 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  • 7. Community School Assessment Tools: Literature ReviewIntroductionAssessment tools aid the process of collecting and analyzing data at community schoolinitiatives. The appropriate assessment tools can be utilized to measure outcomes and revealthe effectiveness of community school programs, services and operational elements.Subsequently, the use of assessment tools is integral to the revision and continuousimprovement of the community school strategy. We used three central research questions toguide the literature review of community school assessment tools: 1. What does the tool measure and how is it used? 2. Does the tool employ a logic model? 3. Is the tool meant for short or long-term assessment?Published research on community school assessment tools and related education assessmenttools from 2000 to 2008 has been included as part of this literature review. Unfortunately,there appears to be a dearth of publicly accessible information on assessment tools previouslyor currently employed at community school sites. We were only able to identify a fewcommunity school initiatives that had shared assessment tools on their websites.Review 1. What the Tool Measures and How it is UsedThe literature generally identified assessment tools as measuring competencies and outcomesin the following areas: community school partnerships; programs and services; funding; schoolclimate; student achievement; family and community engagement; and family, staff, andstudent relationships. The San Francisco Beacon Center Assessment Scorecard also included thecategory “access and equity”1. Most of the assessment tools were qualitative and formatted assurveys that assessed a competency or outcome corresponding to a numbered scale. Otherassessment tools took the form of worksheets, checklists, focus groups, and school datasystems that assessed the alignment of results and indicators. The majority of the assessmenttools included qualitative process-type and result-focused questions.1 Social Policy Research Associates. “Evaluation of the San Francisco Beacon Initiative.” November 13, 2008.Appendix C. Web. 19 December 2011.<http://www.sfbeacon.org/00_Evaluations/Evaluations/2008_Beacon_Evaluation_Report_SPR_Full_Report.pdf>. 6 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  • 8. 2. Logic ModelThe bulk of assessment tools were not rooted in a particular logic model. The only literature wefound that addressed the need for a logic model was the “Community Schools EvaluationToolkit” developed by the Coalition for Community Schools. In the toolkit, the CommunitySchools Logic model undergirds the entire evaluation process. The purpose of the logic model isto demonstrate how results are expected to drive the decisions about which inputs andprograms will constitute a community school initiative2. 3. Short vs. Long-Term AssessmentOverall, the tools did not specify whether they were intended for long or short-termassessment or if they were intended for a specific stage of implementation. The San FranciscoBeacon Center Assessment Scorecard did identify a brief one to three year timeline forachieving goals. The Coalition for Community Schools “Community Schools Evaluation Toolkit”provided a more general guide to the types of assessment tools available and discussed theresults and indicators for both short and long-term assessment.Conclusion 1. Promising PracticesThe “Community Schools Evaluation Toolkit” provided the most comprehensive set ofassessment tools. The toolkit identified a four-part, nine-step process for planning andconducting an evaluation at community school sites. Although not specifically referring toassessment tools but rather the entire evaluation process, there were nine steps wereidentified as critical to creating a successful evaluation of the community school strategy. Thenine steps include: (1) develop results around the Community Schools Logic Model; (2) makesure you have what you need to conduct a successful evaluation; (3) know what you want toevaluate; (4) align the evaluation to the Community Schools Logic Model; (5) develop thequestions you want your evaluation to answer; (6) decide what data to collect; (7) collect data;(8) make sense of or interpret data; and (9) use your findings strategically3.2 Shah, Shital, Katrina Brink, Rebecca London, Shelly Masur, and Gisell Quihuis. “Community Schools EvaluationToolkit.” Coalition for Community Schools, 2009. Web. 19 December 2011.<http://www.communityschools.org/assets/1/AssetManager/Evaluation_Toolkit_March2010.pdf>.3 Shah, Shital, Katrina Brink, Rebecca London, Shelly Masur, and Gisell Quihuis. “Community Schools EvaluationToolkit.” Coalition for Community Schools, 2009. Web. 19 December 2011.<http://www.communityschools.org/assets/1/AssetManager/Evaluation_Toolkit_March2010.pdf>. 7 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  • 9. 2. Concluding RemarksDeveloping and utilizing the appropriate tools to assess each stage of the community schoolstrategy informs the revision and improved coordination of existing programs and services.Assessment tools should be tailored in order to fit the specific context and vision of eachcommunity school, but the literature suggests they should all provide a set of indicators,outcomes and a process for improvement. If developed and used with intentionality,assessment tools can contribute to the community school mission to improve student learningwhile building stronger families and healthier communities4.4 Coalition for Community Schools. “What is a Community School?” Coalition for Community Schools, 2012. Web.24 April 2012. <http://www.communityschools.org/aboutschools/what_is_a_community_school.aspx>. 8 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  • 10. Community School Assessment Tools: Annotated BibliographyCommunity Schools Evaluation ToolkitShah, Shital, Katrina Brink, Rebecca London, Shelly Masur, and Gisell Quihuis. Coalition forCommunity Schools, 2009. Web. 19 December 2011.<http://www.communityschools.org/assets/1/AssetManager/Evaluation_Toolkit_March2010.pdf>.The toolkit is designed to help community schools evaluate their efforts in order to learn fromtheir successes, identify current challenges, and plan future efforts. It provides a nine-stepprocess for planning and conducting an evaluation at a community school site(s). The toolkitserves as a guide to improve community schools’ effectiveness while also telling a school’sindividual story. Additionally, it offers a menu of data collection tools (i.e. surveys, publicdatabases) for evaluating whether and how your school is achieving results. Best practices: 1. Use the Community Schools Logic Model 2. Make sure you have what you need to conduct a successful evaluation a. Consider your readiness b. Plan for success 3. Know what you want to evaluate a. Identify your results and decide what activities will help you achieve them b. Know who you want to evaluate c. Prioritize your Results 4. Align your evaluation to the Community Schools Logic Model a. Examine your activities and results in the context of the Community Schools Logic Model b. Decide which results will be your focus 5. Develop the questions you want your evaluation to answer a. Two types of evaluation questions b. Forming your questions 6. Decide what data to collect 7. Collect data a. Create a detailed data collection plan 8. Make sense of your data a. Organize your data in a format that is easy for you to use b. Focus on what is important about your data 9. Use your findings a. Select your audience and decide what to report b. Present your data to change day-to-day practice and results-based planning c. Use data to change policy d. Use data for funders e. Share data beyond the stakeholder group 9 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  • 11. Exemplary sites: 1. Kent School Services Network, Grand Rapids, MI 2. Mark Twain Elementary School, Tulsa, OK 3. Community Learning Centers, Lincoln, NE 4. Carlin Springs Elementary School, Arlington, VA Models: 1. Table A: Community Schools Logic Model (pg. 8) 2. Table B: Results and Corresponding Indicators (pgs. 10-11) 3. Organizing and Conducting your Evaluation (pg. 12) 4. Continuum of Results (pg. 17) Tools: 1. Sample Evaluation Questions Related to the Result (pg. 23) 2. Table E: Recommended Results, Indicators, and Data Collection Strategies for Students, Families, Schools, and Communities (pg. 26-29) 3. Data Collection Plan Template (pg. 34) 4. Appendix C: School Funding Source-Data Collection Matrix (pg. 42)Strengthening Partnerships: Community School Assessment ChecklistBlank, Martin J. and Barbara Hanson Langford. Coalition for Community Schools and theFinance Project, September 2000. Web. 19 December 2011.<http://www.communityschools.org/assets/1/AssetManager/csassessment.pdf>.The assessment tool contains a series of checklists to aid school and community leaders increating and/or strengthening community school partnerships. The “Community SchoolPartnership Assessment” checklist helps assess the development of the community schoolpartnership. The “Community School Program and Service Assessment” checklist helps takeinventory of existing programs and services in or connected to your school that supportchildren, youth, families, and other community residents. The “Community School FundingSource Assessment” checklist helps to catalogue the funding sources that support theseprograms and services. Tools: Three assessment checklists for strengthening community school partnershipsConnecting Families and Schools AssessmentSchools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Service System. Department of County Human Services,Multnomah County, Oregon, 2011. Web. 19 December 2011.<http://web.multco.us/sites/default/files/sun/documents/connecting_families_and_schools_assessment.pdf>.The SUN assessment tool is intended to be used as an evaluative measure, a guide to improvingfamily involvement, and a tool to promote discussion among staff members that are workingwith culturally and linguistically diverse students. It is intended for families whose home 10 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012
  • 12. language is not English, as they face larger obstacles than most in order to become involved intheir child’s education. The tool is based on researched best practices on the importance offamily involvement for students who do not speak English at home. It includes worksheets forimproving family involvement and partnership in education. Tools: Worksheets on: 1. Preconditions for Family Involvement: School Staff and School Environment 2. Familiarizing Families with the System: How Do Schools Work? 3. Families as Partners: Involving Families in Student Learning 4. Parents as Leaders in Education: Developing Leadership Skills in Family MembersEvaluation of the San Francisco Beacon InitiativeSocial Policy Research Associates. November 13, 2008. Appendix C. Web. 19 December 2011.<http://www.sfbeacon.org/00_Evaluations/Evaluations/2008_Beacon_Evaluation_Report_SPR_Full_Report.pdf>.Appendix C of the Beacon Evaluation provides a sample scorecard for assessing various Beacongoals such as equity and access, student achievement and accountability. Tools: Sample Beacon Scorecard to Align with SFUSD Strategic Goals and Scorecard (Appendix C)Schools and Community Initiative: Community Assessment FrameworkPublic Education Network. Public Education Network, 2011. Web. 19 December 2011.<http://www.publiceducation.org/sc_commassess_indicators.asp>.The article provides sample measures for five core areas of school-community partnerships.The five core areas include: (1) quality education; (2) family supports; (3) child and youthdevelopment; (4) family and community engagement; and (5) community development. It ismeant to serve as an initial guide for school-community partnerships in order to aid the processof developing a set of appropriate local indicators. Tools: Sample Community Assessment Framework 11 ©Urban Strategies Council, October 2012

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